It’s easy to make a New Years resolution. The tough part is being able to make it last. So I thought I’d offer a few suggestions that have worked for me.
1. Commit your resolution to God to help you stay on track
Willpower, shm-illpower! There’s no human way to persevere in our own strength. And I hate to disrupt the enthusiastic flow of your January juices, but no one is the Energizer Bunny either. Just remember:
“But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” –Romans 7:17-19 (MSG)
And . . .
“No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” –Matthew 19:26 (MSG)
2. Put your commitment in writing
Write up a contract and sign it. Or make up a chart and post it where you are reminded daily of your goals. It may seem silly, but it really helps.
3. Make your resolution measurable
This simply means you can’t say, “I want to lose ten pounds” without spelling out specific, concrete goals that help you reach your ultimate goal.
For example, you might want to eat healthier foods like lots of veggies and whole grains. You might want to cut out any sweets, fried foods and soft drinks from your diet. You might also include a specific exercise plan. All of these mini-concrete goals can help you to get to your ultimate goal. (So sorry for the food imagery in that last sentence. I hope I haven’t sent any of you dieters rushing out to Dairy Queen!)
4. Seek accountability
This is simply another way to establish your commitment. You might commit to giving a daily update of your Facebook or Twitter status by posting your latest efforts. Or even better, you might enlist the help of a friend to ask you each day how you’re doing on your goals. I promise, if and when you do, you’ll be much more inclined to fend off any temptation to go rogue.
5. If at first you don’t succeed . . .
Yes, we all blow it from time to time. Often this is when most resolutions go in the slush pile until the following January. But if you set out with the expectation that when you fail, you will “try, try again,” you’ll find that success is not far behind. After all, perseverance isn’t the absence of failures, it is the using of failures as stepping stones on your way to success!